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Architecture & Governance II – There’s something about BPM… February 27, 2011

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management, Others, Service Oriented Architecture.
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There’s something about BPM… that’s missing…

This post is definitely not my “eureka moment”. No such great discovery coming from me yet.

After all I am neither in my bath nor am I running around naked.

But, I have tried to define processes. Modeled them in EPC and BPMN and yet somewhere I face the frustration of not having got it just right. There is always some cross-link missing or some exception not managed. Arguments have advised me to focus on the 80% of Pareto’s law. However, if we are to run a 100 million dollar business, that 20% is a whopping 20 million dollars! For sure, I do not want to be the one losing that 20 million.

This is where your Business Architecture or also known in some corners as Business Process Architecture kicks in to help you structure your processes. Conventional Architectures start from the top and they tend to start with a Service. As some call it a Service, others have gone on to call them Process Landscapes, Process Areas or Scenarios. Ultimately and fundamentally they are on the same page and a typical such architecture is shown below.

However, I disagree with this model because this starts from what we want to serve our customer and not vice versa.

This is where it happened to me. It happens to all of us. We learn many things during our academic and vocational journeys that we leave behind and then suddenly it pops up out of the blue and knocks us so hard that we wonder why didn’t we think of it before.

My moment came to me during a recent marketing workshop where some of the marketing jargon lead me back to the basics of marketing. It’s all about the needs and wants of a customer. If we only have to cater to what the customer needs, great. If the competition also caters to the customer’s needs, then we have to give them what they want.

This was missing from the above architecture. It starts with a “sales orientation” by aiming to deliver what we have to serve them. What we must put in place is definitely a “market orientation“.

One must move from a “push to customer” architectural principle to a “pushed or pulled by customer” principle. Thus, our business architecture starts from the customers needs or wants as defined by the diagram below:

I believe a business always starts with the customer and if the customer wishes, it can always be brought to an end. Hence, applying the basics learnt from our marketing classes in our business architecture, we go closer to the customer and the closer we are to our customer, the closer we are to our objectives.

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Comments»

1. Ashish Bhagwat - February 27, 2011

Well pointed out Sanooj. But, that’s not a BPM issue in particular if one looks at BPM as just another technology. the moment you bring BPM to the level of discipline it’s integral to Business Architecture or strategy. That’s when we look at the Business Process domain, it all starts from the customer orientation et al. After having gone back and forth on this, to me it looks like BPM will eventually not get practiced as a discipline in which case it would do much better smooothing the edges on it’s technology form – which is to enable a great process design to improvement lifecycle (supported by execution and monitoring).

Sanooj Kutty - February 28, 2011

Thank you Ashish for the comment and thank you for the “twittversation” that followed this comment.
While fundamentally, I agree with you that BPM as a discipline is too stuck within its circles to become a part of an organization and its ethos, I do not agree that smoothening the technology form will gain any benefit either.

Its a simple case of smoothening DBMS technology forms without imbibing the practice of mature DB designing as a discipline. Getting your tools right does not ensure a good carpentry outcome. The science of carpentry is as critical to the outcome as effective tools is. Its a “Bad Carpenter that blames the Tools”.

Ashish Bhagwat - February 28, 2011

Sanooj, I agree with the sentiment. Just to ensure I’m not taken out of context, here’s my view on the topic: http://ashishbhagwat.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/defining-bpm-and-state-thereof-the-perspectives-at-play/

It’s not just play with the semantics, but there’re forces at play out there!

2. What comprises the Definitive Core of BPM? « The Eclectic Zone - March 6, 2011

[…] approach to “practice that core thing that BPM is composed off”. It all starts from the ultimate need or want of the end customer, and finding out how a particular process or set of actions need to be orchestrated to achieve the […]


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